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THE NORMAN POETS OF ENGLAND.

The first literary productions which call for attention after the Conquest, are a class which may be considered as in a great measure foreign to the country and its language. Before the invasion of England by William, poetical literature had begun to be cultivated in France with considerable marks of spirit and taste. The language, which from its origin was named Romane (lingua Romana),* was separated into two great divisions, that of the south, which is represented popularly by the Provençal, and that of the north, which was subdivided into French and Anglo-Norman, the latter dialect being that chiefly confined to our island. The poets of the south were called in their dialect trobadores, or troubadours, and those of the north were distinguished by the same title, written in their language trouveres. In Provence, there arose a series of elegant versifiers, who employed their talents in composing romantic and complimentary poems, full of warlike and amatory sentiment, which many of them made a business of reciting before assemblages of the great. Norman poets, writing with more plainness and simplicity, were celebrated even before those of Provençe; and one, named Taillefer, was the first man to break the English ranks at the battle of Hastings. From the preference of the Norman kings of England for the poets of their own country, and the general depression of Anglo-Saxon, it results that the distinguished literary names of the first two centuries after the Conquest are those of NORMAN POETS, men who were as frequently natives of France as of England. Philippe de Thaun, author of treatises on popular science in verse; Thorold, who wrote the fine romance of Roland; Samson de Nanteuil, who translated the proverbs of Solomon into French verse; Geoffroi Gaimar, author of a chronicle of the Anglo-Saxon kings; and David, a trouveere of considerable eminence, whose works are lost, were the most noted predecessors of one of much greater celebrity, named Maistre WACE, a native of Jersey. About 1160, Wace wrote, in his native French, a narrative poem entitled Le Brut D'Angleterre (Brutus of England). The chief hero was an imaginary son of Æneas of Troy, who was represented as having founded the state of Britain many centuries before the Christian era. This was no creation of the fancy of the Norman poet. He only translated a serious history, written a few years before in Latin by a monk named GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH, in which the affairs of Britain were traced with all possible gravity through a series of imaginary kings, beginning with Brutus of Troy, and ending with Cadwallader, who was said to have lived in the year 689 of the Christian era.

This history is a very remarkable work, on account of its origin, and its effects on subsequent literature. The Britons, settled in Wales, Cornwall, and Bretagne, were distinguished at this time on account of the numberless fanciful and fabulous legends which they possessed-a traditionary kind of literature resembling that which has since been found amongst the kindred people of the Scottish Highlands. For centuries past, Europe had been supplied with tale and fable from the teeming fountain of Bretagne, as it now is with music from Italy, and metaphysics from Germany. Walter Calenius, archdean of Oxford, collected some of these of a professedly his

* Any book written in this tongue was cited as the livre Romans (liber Romanus), and most frequently as simply the Romans: as a great portion of these were works of fiction, the term has since given rise to the word now in general use,

romance.

torical kind relating to England, and communicated them to Geoffrey, by whom they were put into the form of a regular historical work, and introduced for the first time to the learned world, as far as a learned world then existed. As little else than a bundle of incredible stories, some of which may be slightly founded on fact, this production is of small worth; but it supplied a ground for Wace's poem, and proved an unfailing resource for the writers of romantic narrative for the ensuing two centuries; nor even in a later age was its influence exhausted; for from it Shakspeare drew the story of Lear, and Sackville that of Ferrex and Porrex, while Drayton reproduces much of it in his Polyolbion, and it has given occasion to many allusions in the poems of Milton and others.*

Maistre Wace also composed a History of the Normans, under the title of the Roman de Rou, that is, the Romance of Rollo, first Duke of Normandy, and some other works. Henry II., from admiration of his writings, bestowed upon him a canonry in the cathedral of Bayeux. Benoit, a contemporary of Wace, and author of a History of the Dukes of Normandy; and Guernes, an ecclesiastic of Pont St Maxence, in Picardy, who wrote a metrical life of Thomas à Becket, are the other two Norman poets of most eminence whose genius or whose writings can be connected with the history of English literature. These writers composed most frequently in rhymed couplets, each line containing eight syllables.†

COMMENCEMENT OF THE PRESENT FORM OF ENGLISH.

Of the century following the Conquest, the only other compositions that have come down to us as the production of individuals living in, or connected

*Ellis's Metrical Romances.

Ellis's Specimens, i., 35-59. A short passage from Wace's description of the ceremonies and sports presumed to have taken

place at King Arthur's coronation, will give an idea of the writings of the Norman poets. It is extracted from Mr Ellis's work, with his notes:

'Quant li rois leva del mangier,
Alé sunt tuit esbanoier,1
De la cité es champs issirent;
A plusors gieux se despartirent.
Li uns alerent bohorder,2

Et les incaux chevalx monstrer:
Li autre alerent escremir,
Ou pierres getier, ou saillir.
Tielx i avoit qui dars lancoent,
Et tielx i avoit qui lutoent;
Chascun del gieu s'entremetoit,
Qui entremetre se savoit.
Cil qui son compaignon vainquoit,
Et qui d'aucun gieu pris avoit,
Estoit sempres au roi mené,
Et à tous les autres monstré ;
Et li rois del sien li donoit,
Tant donc cil liez s'en aloit.
Les dames sor les murs aloent,
Por esgarder ceulx qui joient.
Qui ami avoit en la place,
Tost li tornost l'oil ou la face.
Trois jorz dura la feiste ainsi ;
Quand vint au quart, au mercredi,
Li rois les bacheliers ficufa
Enors deliverez devisa,6
Lor servise a celx rendi,
Qui por terre l'orent servi:
Bois dona, et chasteleriez,
Et evesquiez, et abbaiez.

A ceulx qui d'autres terres estoient,
Qui par amor au roi venoent,
Dona coupes, dona destriers,
Dona de ses avers plus chers. &c.'

1 To amuse themselves. 2 To just. 3 Fleet (isnel). To leap Fieffa, gave fiefs. * He gave them livries of lands.

It

with, England, are works written in Latin by learned
ecclesiastics, the principal of whom were John of
Salisbury, Peter of Blois, Joseph of Exeter, and
GEOFFREY of MONMOUTH, the last being the author
of the History of England just alluded to, which is
supposed to have been written about the year 1138.
About 1154, according to Dr Johnson, the Saxon
began to take a form in which the beginning of the
present English may plainly be discovered.'
does not, as already hinted, contain many Norman
words, but its grammatical structure is considerably
altered. There is a metrical Saxon or English trans-
lation, by one LAYAMON, a priest of Ernely, on the
Severn, from the Brut d'Angleterre of Wace. Its date
is not ascertained; but if it be, as surmised by some
writers, a composition of the latter part of the twelfth
century, we must consider it as throwing a valuable
light on the history of our language at perhaps the
most important period of its existence. A specimen,
in which the passage already given from Wace is
translated, is presented in the sequel. With refe-
rence to a larger extract given by Mr Ellis, of which
the other is a portion, that gentleman remarks-'As
it does not contain any word which we are under the
necessity of referring to a French origin, we cannot
but consider it as simple and unmixed, though very
barbarous, Saxon. At the same time,' he continues,
'the orthography of this manuscript, in which we see,
for the first time, the admission of the soft g, toge-
ther with the Saxon, as well as some other peculiari-
ties, seems to prove that the pronunciation of our lan-
guage had already undergone a considerable change.
Indeed, the whole style of this composition, which
is broken into a series of short unconnected sentences,
and in which the construction is as plain and artless
as possible, and perfectly free from inversions, ap-
pears to indicate that little more than the substitu-
tion of a few French for the present Saxon words
was now necessary to produce a resemblance to that
Anglo-Norman, or English, of which we possess a
few specimens, supposed to have been written in the
early part of the thirteenth century. Layamon's
versification is also no less remarkable than his lan-
guage. Sometimes he seems anxious to imitate the
rhymes, and to adopt the regular number of syllables,
which he had observed in his, original; at other
times he disregards both, either because he did not
consider the laws of metre, or the consonance of
final sounds, as essential to the gratification of his
readers; or because he was unable to adapt them
throughout so long a work, from the want of models
in his native language on which to form his style.
The latter is perhaps the most probable supposition;
but, at all events, it is apparent that the recurrence
of his rhymes is much too frequent to be the result
of chance; so that, upon the whole, it seems reason-
able to infer, that Layamon's work was composed at,
or very near, the period when the Saxons and Nor-
mans in this country began to unite into one nation,
and to adopt a common language.'

SPECIMENS OF ANGLO-SAXON AND ENGLISH
PREVIOUS TO 1300.

[Extract from the Saxon Chronicle, 1154.]

Tauresfeld. That ministre hi makiden. Tha the
And ne

On this yær ward the King Stephen ded, and
bebyried there his wif and his sune wæron bebyried æt
king was ded, tha was the eorl beionde sæ.
durste nan man don other bute god for the micel eie
of him. Tha he to Engleland come, tha was he under-
fangen mid micel wortscipe; and to king bletcæd in
Lundine, on the Sunnen dæi beforen mid-winter-dæi.

Literally translated thus:-'A. D. 1154. In this year was the King Stephen dead, and buried where his wife and his son were buried, at Touresfield. That minister they made. When the king was dead, then was the earl beyond sea. And not durst no man do other but good for the great awe of him. When he to England came, then was he received with great worship; and to king consecrated in London, on the Sunday before mid-winter-day (Christmas day).'

[Extract from the account of the Proceedings at Arthur's Coronation, given by Layamon, in his translation of Wace, executed about 1180.] *

We have already seen short specimens of the Anglo-Saxon prose and verse of the period prior to the Conquest. Perhaps the best means of making clear the transition of the language into its present form, is to present a continuation of these specimens, extending between the time of the Conquest and the reign of Edward I. It is not to be expected that these specimens will be of much use to the reader, on account of the ideas which they convey; but, considered merely as objects, or as pictures, they will not be without their effect in illustrating the history of our literature.

Tha the king+ igeten1 hafde
And al his mon-weorede,2
Tha bugan3 out of burhge
Theines swithen balde.
Alle tha kinges,

And heore here-thringes.
Alle tha biscopes,
And alle tha clarckes,
Alle the eorles,
And alle tha beornes.
Alle tha theines,
Alle the sweines,
Feire iscrudde,5
Helde geond felde.6
Summe heo gunnen7 æruen,8
Summe heo gunnen urnen,9
Summe heo gunnen lepen,
Summe heo gunnen sceoten,10
Summe heo wrestleden
And wither-gome makeden,11
Summe heo on velde
Pleouweden under scelde,12
Summe heo driven balles
Wide geond the feldes.
Moni ane kunnes gomen
Ther heo gunnen drinen.13
And wha swa mihte iwenne
Wurthscipe of his gomene,14
Hine mel5 ladde mide songe
At foren than leod kinge;
And the king, for his gomene,
Gaf him geven16 gode,

*The notes are by Mr Ellis, with corrections.

+ The original of this passage, by Wace, is given in an earlier page.

1 Eaten.

2 Multitude of attendants. Sax.

3 Fled. Then fled out of the town the people very quickly. Their throngs of servants.

6 Fairly dressed.

6 Held (their way) through the fields.

7 Began.

9 To run.

8 To discharge arrows. 10 To shoot or throw darts.

11 Made, or played at, wither-games, Sax. (games of emulation), that is, justed.

12 Some they on field played under shield; that is, fought with swords.

13 Many a kind of game there they gan urge.' Dringen (Dutch), is to urge, press, or drive.

14 And whoso might win worship by his gaming.

15 Him they led with song before the people's king." Me, a word synonymous with the French on.

16 Gave him givings, gifts.

5

Alle tha quene1
The icumen weoren there,
And alle tha lafdies,
Leoneden geond walles,
To bihalden tha duge then,
And that folc plæie.
This ilæste threo dæges,2
Swulc gomes and swule plæghs,
Tha, at than veorthe dæie
The king gon to spekenes
And agaf his gode cnihten
All heore rihten ; 4

He gef seolver, he gæf gold,
He gef hors, he gef lond,
Castles, and clothes eke;
His monnen he iquende.5

[Extract from a Charter of Henry III., ▲. D. 1258, in the common language of the time.]

Henry, thurg Godes fultome, King on Engleneloande, Lhoaverd on Yrloand, Duk on Norman, on Acquitain, Earl on Anjou, send I greting, to alle hise holde, ilærde and ilewede on Huntindonnschiere. Thæt witen ge wel alle, that we willen and unnen, that ure rædesmen alle other the moare del of heom, that beoth ichosen thurg us and thurg that loandes-folk on ure kineriche, habbith idon, and schullen don in the worthnes of God, and ure treowthe, for the freme of the loande, thurg the besigte of than toforen iseide rædesmen, &c.

Literal translation:- -'Henry, through God's support, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy, of Acquitain, Earl of Anjou, sends greeting to all his subjects, learned and unlearned, of Huntingdonshire. This know ye well all, that we will and grant, what our counsellors all, or the more part of them, that be chosen through us and through the land-folk of our kingdom, have done, and shall do, to the honour of God, and our allegiance, for the good of the land, through the determination of the beforesaid counsellors,' &c.

THE RHYMING CHRONICLERS.

Layamon may be regarded as the first of a series of writers who, about the end of the thirteenth century, began to be conspicuous in our literary history, which usually recognises them under the general appellation of the RHYMING CHRONICLERS. The first, at a considerable interval after Layamon, was a monk of Gloucester Abbey, usually called from that circumstance ROBERT OF GLOUCESTER, and who lived during the reigns of Henry III. and Edward I. He wrote, in long rhymed lines (Alexandrines), a history of England from the imaginary Brutus to his own time, using chiefly as his authority the Latin history by Geoffrey of Monmouth, of which Wace and Layamon had already given Norman French and Saxon versions.* The work is described by Mr Warton as destitute of art and imagination, and giving to the fabulous history, in many parts, a less poetical air than it bears in Geoffrey's prose. The language is full of Saxon peculiarities, which might partly be the result of his living in so remote a province as Gloucestershire. Another critic acknowledges that, though cold and prosaic, Robert is not deficient in the valuable talent of arresting the attention. The orations with

6

1 All the queens who were come to the festival, and all the ladies, leaned over the walls to behold the nobles there, and that folk play."

2 This lasted three days, such games and such plays.

3 Then, on the fourth day, the king went to council?

And gave his good knights all their rights or rewards. 6 He satisfied.

*Robert's Chronicle, from a particular allusion, is supposed to have been written, at least in part, after 1297.

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[The Muster for the First Crusade.]

A good pope was thilk time at Rome, that hechtl Urban,

That preached of the creyserie, and creysed mony man. Therefore he send preachers thorough all Christendom, And himself a-this-side the mounts? and to France

come;

And preached so fast, and with so great wisdom,
That about in each lond the cross fast me nome.3
In the year of grace a thousand and sixteen,
This great creyserie began, that long was i-seen.
Of so much folk nyme4 the cross, ne to the holy land go,
Me ne see no time before, ne suth nathemo.5
For self women ne beleved,6 that they ne wend thither
fast,

Ne young folk [that] feeble were, the while the voyage y-last.

So that Robert Curthose thitherward his heart cast, And, among other good knights, ne thought not be the last.

He wends here to Englond for the creyserie,
And laid William his brother to wed? Normandy,
And borrowed of him thereon an hundred thousand
mark,

To wend with to the holy lond, and that was somedeal stark. * #

The Earl Robert of Flanders mids him wend also, And Eustace Earl of Boulogne, and mony good knight

thereto.

There wend the Duke Geoffrey, and the Earl Baldwin there,

And the other Baldwin also, that noble men were,
And kings syth all three of the holy lond.
The Earl Stephen de Blois wend eke, that great power

had on hond,

And Robert's sister Curthose espoused had to wive.
There wend yet other knights, the best that were alive;
As the Earl of St Giles, the good Raymond,
And Niel the king's brother of France, and the Earl
And Tancred his nephew, and the bishop also
Beaumond,
Of Podys, and Sir Hugh the great earl thereto;
And folk also without tale,9 of all this west end
Of Englond and of France, thitherward gan wend,
Of Normandy, of Denmark, of Norway, of Britain,
Of Wales and of Ireland, of Gascony and of Spain,
Of Provence and of Saxony, and of Alemain,
Of Scotlond and of Greece, of Rome and Aquitain. * *

* Ellis.

1 Was called. 2 Passed the mountains-namely, the Alps.

3 Was quickly taken up. 4 Take. 5 Since never more. 6 Even women did not remain. 7Towed, in pledge, in pawn. 8 With. 9 Beyond reckoning.

[The Siege of Antioch.]

Tho wend forth this company, with mony a noble

man,

And won Tars with strength, and syth Toxan.
And to yrene brig from thannen' they wend,
And our lord at last to Antioch them send,
That in the beginning of the lond of Syrie is.
Anon, upon St Lucus' day, hither they come, i wiss,
And besieged the city, and assailed fast,

And they within again' them stalwartly cast.
So that after Christmas the Saracens rede nome,2
And the folk of Jerusalem and of Damas come,
Of Aleph, and of other londs, mid great power enow,
And to succoury Antioch fast hitherward drew.
So that the Earl of Flanders and Beaumond at last
Mid twenty thousand of men again them wend fast,
And smite an battle with them, and the shrewen3

overcome;

And the Christian wend again, mid the prey that they

nome.

In the month of Feverer the Saracens eftsoon Yarked them a great host (as they were y-wont to done),

And went toward Antioch, to help their kind blood,
The company of Christian men this well understood.
To besiege this castle their footmen they lete,
And the knights wend forth, the Saracens to meet ;
I-armed and a-horse well, and in sixty party,4
Ere they went too far, they dealt their company.
Of the first Robert Curthose they chose to chiefentain,
And of the other the noble Duke Humphrey of Al-
main;

Of the thrid the good Raymond; the ferth the good man
The Earl of Flanders they betook; and the fifth than
They betook the bishop of Pody; and the sixth, tho
The good Tancred and Beaumond, tho ner there namo.5
These twae had the maist host, that as standard was
there,
For to help their fellows, whan they were were.6
This Christian and this Saracens to-gather them
met,

And as stalwart men to-gather fast set,
And slew to ground here and there, ac the heathen side
Wax ever wersh7 and wersh of folk that come wide.
So that this Christianmen were all ground ney.
Tho Beaumond with his host this great sorrow y-sey,
He and Tancred and their men, that all wersh were,
Smite forth as noble men into the battle there,
And stirred them so nobly, that joy it was to see ;
So that their fellows that were in point to flee,
Nome to them good heart, and fought fast enow.
Robert first Curthose his good swerd adrew,
And smote ane up the helm, and such a stroke him gave,
That the skull, and teeth, and the neck, and the
shouldren he to-clave.

The Duke Godfrey all so good on the shouldren smote

one,

And forclave him all that body to the saddle anon. The one half fell adown anon, the other beleved still In the saddle, theigh it wonder were, as it was God's will; This horse bear forth this half man among his fellows each one,

1 Thence. 4 Six parties. 7 Fresh.

And they, for the wonder case, in dread fell anon. What for dread thereof, and for strength of their fon,8 More joy than there was, nas never i-see none.

In beginning of Lent this battle was y-do, And yet soon thereafter another there come also. For the Saracens in Paynim yarked folk enow, And that folk, tho it gare was,9 to Antioch drew. Tho the Christians it underget, again they wend fast, So that they met them, and smit an battle at last.

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anon,

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So that at a narrow brig there adrent1 mony one.
twelve princes there were dead,
That me cleped amirals, a fair case it was one
The Christians had of them of armour great won,
Of gold and of silver eke, and thereafter they nome
The headen of the hext masters, and to Antioch come,
And laid them in engines, and into the city them cast:
Tho they within i-see this, sore were they aghast ;
That their masters were aslaw, they 'gun dread sore,
And held it little worth the town to wardy more.
A master that was within, send to the Earl Beaumond,
To yielden up his ward, and ben whole and sound.
Ere his fellows were aware, he yeld him up there
The towers of the city that in his ward were.
Tho Beaumond therein was, his banner anon he let

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Tho the Saracens it i-see, they were some deal in fear, And held them all overcome. The Christians anon

soonBy the uprising of God, Robelin, me shall i-see, Curthose my young son stalward knight shall be.' For he was some deal short, he cleped him Curthose, And he ne might never eft afterward thilk name lose. Other lack had he nought, but he was not well long; He was quaint of counsel and of speech, and of body strong.

come,

And this town up this luther? men as for nought nome,
And slew all that they found, but which so might flee,
And astored them of their treasure, as me might i-see.
Thus was the thrid day of June Antioch i-nome,
And, as all in thilk side, the Saracens overcome.

[Description of Robert Curthose.]

He was William's son bastard, as I have i-said ere i-lome,3

And well i-wox4 ere his father to Englond come.
Thick man he was enow, but he nas well long,
Quarry5 he was and well i-made for to be strong.
Therefore his father in a time i-see his sturdy deed,6
The while he was young, and byhuld, and these words
said,

Never yet man ne might, in Christendom, ne in Paynim,

In battle him bring adown of his horse none time.

In the list of Rhyming Chroniclers, Robert of Gloucester is succeeded by ROBERT MANNING, a Gilbertine canon in the monastery of Brunne or Bourne, in Lincolnshire (therefore usually called Robert de Brunne), who flourished in the latter part of the reign of Edward I., and throughout that of Edward II. He translated, under the name of a Handling of Sins, a French book, entitled Manuel des Pêches, the composition of William de Wadington, in which the seven deadly sins are illustrated by legendary stories. He afterwards translated a French chronicle of England, which had been written by Peter de Langtoft, a contemporary of his own, and an Augustine canon of Bridlington in Yorkshire. Manning has been characterised as an industrious, and, for the time, an elegant writer, possessing, in particular, a great command of rhymes. The verse adopted in his chronicle is shorter than that of the Gloucester monk, making an approach to the octosyllabic stanza of modern times. The following is one of the most spirited passages, in reduced spelling:

1 Were drowned. • Grown.

9 Wicked. 8 Frequently before. Square. 6 Seeing his sturdy doings.

5

[The interview of Vortigern with Rowen, the beautiful Daughter of Hengist.]

Hengist that day did his might,
That all were glad, king and knight.
And as they were best in glading,
And well cup-shotten, knight and king,
Of chamber Rowenen so gent,
Before the king in hall she went.
A cup with wine she had in hand,
And her attire was well farand.2
Before the king on knee set,
And in her language she him gret3
'Laverd4 king, wassail !' said she.
The king asked, What should be.
On that language the king ne couth5
A knight her language lerid in youth,
Bregh hight that knight, born Breton,
That lerid the language of Saxon.
This Bregh was the latimer,6
What she said told Vortiger.
'Sir,' Bregh said, Rowen you greets,
And king calls and lord you leets.7
This is their custom and their gest,
When they are at the ale or feast,
Ilk man that loves where him think,
Shall say, Wassail! and to him drink.
He that bids shall say, Wassail!
The tother shall say again, Drinkhail!
That says Wassail drinks of the cup,
Kissing his fellow he gives it up.
Drinkhail he says, and drinks thereof,
Kissing him in bourd and skof.'
The king said, as the knight gan ken,8
'Drinkhail,' smiling on Rowenen.
Rowen drank as her list,9

And gave the king, syne him kissed.
There was the first wassail in dede,
And that first of fame gaed.10
Of that wassail men told great tale,
And wassail when they were at ale,
And drinkhail to them that drank,
Thus was wassail ta'en to thank.
Fell sithes that maiden ying
Wassailed and kissed the king.
Of body she was right avenant,
Of fair colour with sweet semblant.
Her attire full well it seemed,
Mervelik the king she queemed.12
Of our measure was he glad,
For of that maiden he wax all mad.
Drunkenness the fiend wrought,
Of that paen 13 was all his thought.
A mischance that time him led,
He asked that paen for to wed.
Hengist would not draw o lite,
Bot granted him all so tite.
And Hors his brother consented soon.
Her friends said, it were to done.
They asked the king to give her Kent,
In dowery to take of rent.
Upon that maiden his heart was cast;
That they asked the king made fast.
I ween the king took her that day,
And wedded her on paen's lay.14

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He loved peace at his might;
Peaceable men he held to right.
His lond Britain he yodel throughout,
And ilk country beheld about,
Beheld the woods, water, and fen,
No passage was maked for men,
No high street through countrie
Ne to borough ne city.
Through muris, hills, and vallies,
He made brigs and causeways,
High street for common passage,
Brigs o'er waters did he stage.
The first he made he called it Fosse;
Throughout the land it goes to Scoss.
It begins at Tottenness,
And ends unto Catheness.
Another street ordained he,
And goes to Wales to Saint Davy.
Two causeways o'er the lond o-bread,2
That men o'er-thort in passage yede.
When they were made as he chese,
He commanded till all have peace;
All should have peace and freedame,
That in his streets yede or came.
And if were any of his
That fordid3 his franchise,
Forfeited should be all his thing,
His body taken to the king.

[Praise of Good Women.] (From the Handling of Sins.) Nothing is to man so dear As woman's love in good manner. A good woman is man's bliss, Where her love right and stedfast is. There is no solace under heaven, Of all that a man may neven,4 That should a man so much glew,5 As a good woman that loveth true: Ne dearer is none in God's hurd,6 Than a chaste woman with lovely wurd.

ENGLISH METRICAL ROMANCES.

HE rise of Romantic Fiction in Europe has been traced to the most opposite quarters; namely, to the Arabians and to the Scandinavians. It has also been disputed, whether a politer kind of poetical literature was first cultivated in Normandy or in Provence. Without entering into these perplexing questions, it may be enough to state, that romantic fiction appears to have been cultivated from the eleventh century downwards, both by the troubadours of Provençe and by the Norman poets, of whom some account has already been given. As also already hinted, a class of persons had arisen, named Joculators, Jongleurs, or Minstrels, whose business it was to wander about from one mansion to another, reciting either their own compositions, or those of other persons, with the accompaniment of the harp. The histories and chronicles, already spoken of, partook largely of the character of these romantic tales, and were hawked about in the same manner. Brutus, the supposed son of Eneas of Troy, and who is described in those histories as the founder of the English state, was as much a hero of romance 1 Went. 2 Breadthways. 3 Broke, destroyed. 5 Delight. • Family.

4 Know.

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